Understanding the Aspects of Feline Liver Disease

Feline liver problems are common in older cats. One of the most common liver afflictions is called Fatty Liver Disease, which is caused when fat accumulates in the liver tissue. In order to better educate yourself about this common disease and safeguard your cat against it, please the read the information below which highlights the causes of the disease, how it progresses, the symptoms, and how you can treat it.

Causes of Feline Fatty Liver Disease

Feline Fatty Liver Disease is idiopathic which means that its cause is unknown. Current theory states that the disease most likely occurs when a cat's metabolic process of fats and proteins goes awry. While your cat could contract the disease under normal circumstances, obesity puts your cat at higher risk for Feline Fatty Liver Disease.

Progression of the Disease

Feline Fatty Liver Disease progresses in the following manner:

  1. Your cat stops eating his or her food and loses further appetite.
  2. Since your cat's body lacks food and nutrition, his or her body sends fat cells to the liver to be processed into fuel.
  3. Your cat's liver is not efficient at processing fat, so much of the fat remains stored in the liver.
  4. Over time and without treatment, the liver will fail and your cat will need immediate care.

Symptoms of the Disease

The first sign that your cat may be developing Fatty Liver Disease is that he or she will suddenly stop eating. He or she will lose weight and may start vomiting or even drooling excessively. Lethargy and jaundice, which is the yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin, are also common symptoms of this disease. However, all of the symptoms previously mentioned can be indicative of other diseases such as liver cancer, so your cat will need a range of diagnostic tests to determine if he or she is indeed suffering from Fatty Liver Disease.

How the Disease is Treated

Fatty Liver Disease is reversible if caught in time. Your cat will need to be put on a strict diet regimen, beginning with tube-feeding. Your veterinarian will start of the regimen by inserting a feeding tube so your cat can receive the nutrients he or she needs. You will be required to tube-feed your cat at home for up to eight weeks, using a syringe to insert a blended food formula into the tube. Although, some owners have had success with feeding from the syringe directly into the cat's mouth. After the first few weeks of the changed diet, your cat's appetite should begin to return to normal. Please note though that advanced cases may require hospitalization, fluid replacement therapy, and toxin removal therapy.